2008 PARALYMPIC GAMES: U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team Defeats Brazil, 68-38, to Finish Preliminary Round Undefeated
BEIJING, China – The U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team has completed preliminary round play undefeated, finishing off Pool A with a sound 68-38 win over Brazil on Thursday morning. The U.S. is now the number one seed from its group as medal round play begins on Friday.
“We wanted to play better with each game as the tournament progressed and I think we’re playing pretty well right now,” said U.S. head coach Ron Lykins (Stillwater, Minn.). “But, we know we still have to get better in certain areas if we’re going to make it all the way to the gold medal game.”
The patented U.S. defense was once again the catalyst for victory and Brazil was never able to make this a competitive contest. The defense forced a tournament-high 27 turnovers, which included 17 steals by Team USA.
“Finishing pool play undefeated was definitely one of our goals, but it’s just one step and now we have to move on to our next game,” said Carlee Hoffman (Champaign, Ill./Cutlerville, Mich.). “We feel we’ve gotten better with each game we’ve played here and to come out today and really take it to Brazil is just more momentum for us to build on as we go into the quarterfinals.”
Hoffman and Jennifer Ruddell, assistant professor of sports managment at Shorter College, (produced nearly half the offensive output for the U.S., scoring 15 and 16 points, respectively. Loraine Gonzales (Ft. Worth, Texas) managed just three points in this one, but pulled down 10 big rebounds and accounted for five steals.
“We’re excited. We’re right where we wanted to be heading into the medal round,” said Alana Nichols (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Farmington, N. Mex.). “We’re continually improving on every aspect of our game and learning from each minute we’re out on the court.”
The U.S. takes on host country China in the quarterfinals on Sept. 12 at 1:30 p.m. at the National Indoor Stadium.
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